Elected by the people, paid by the teachers’ union
A state representative who also works for the union is being criticized for his conflict of interest.
Keeping to Education Minnesota’s political history of almost exclusively, with rare exceptions, supporting one political party and its affiliates, the teachers’ union recently announced its endorsements of 81 candidates for election—all running under the DFL party.
Education Minnesota is not shy about its political involvement. But the state’s teachers’ union represents over 80,000 voices, and not all of them embrace the same political ideology as Education Minnesota.
And even if their political views do lean left, there are several races where multiple DFL candidates are running against each other in the upcoming primary. Which means teachers are forced to support the candidate the union favors, undermining their own political preferences.
What about union members who support a different candidate or political party? Or no party at all?
While only Education Minnesota’s PAC can directly contribute to political candidates and political parties, there are many other ways the union spends dues on “soft” political activities such as get-out-the-vote drives, election mailers, public marketing campaigns, and lobbying at the legislature. According to its most recent federal filing, Education Minnesota spent over $2.6 million of teachers’ union dues on “political activities and lobbying,” which is separate political spending from the union’s PAC expenditures (which totaled over $5 million in 2018). Union dues are also spent on left-leaning political organizations and generous union salaries. Forty-four percent of the union’s executives/employees (with a handful of part-time employees factored in) earn more than $100,000, with one union attorney receiving a pay bump from the previous year’s salary of over $22,000.
But teachers no longer have to fund the unions’ political agenda or pay for high union admin salaries and benefits. The 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision freed all public employees, including teachers, from being forced to financially support a government union in order to keep their job. And thousands of teachers have exercised that newly restored choice, causing a decrease in dues and agency fee revenue.
For practical information on unions, how they spend dues money, and union alternatives, visit EducatedTeachersMN.com.